King Ranch

Nature Tours

Come experience King Ranch’s guided nature tours and special programs for bird-watchers.

buck

King Ranch has a long history of wildlife management. As early as 1947, famed conservationist Aldo Leopold called King Ranch “one of the best jobs of wildlife restoration on the continent.” Today, the ranch is a vital part of an incredibly diverse landscape in South Texas dubbed “The Last Great Habitat.”

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Besides rich populations of game species such as northern bobwhite quail, white-tailed deer, and wild turkey, King Ranch is also home to an incredible number of birds, mammals, reptiles, birds and insects. We have been honored as an Internationally Important Bird Area: 363 species of birds have been recorded here, including the largest known population of ferruginous pygmy-owls in the United States. In 2004, a species of damselfly never before seen in the U.S., the cream-tipped swamp-damsel, was discovered on the ranch.

javelina

Whether you’re interested in beautiful or unusual birds, big deer, or the wonders of nature, King Ranch is the place to visit. For more information or to make a reservation, contact

King Ranch Visitor Center at either (361) 592-8055 or visit@king-ranch.com. Please note that the prices below don’t include sales tax of 6.75%.

Our Nature Tours

Click on one of the links below to get more information about each tour.

King Ranch Nature Tour (2 hours)

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Come experience King Ranch’s birds, bugs, & beyond. Take this short tour for an introduction to the diverse nature found on King Ranch and enjoy this portion of the South Texas brushland ecosystem!

Tours offered Sept. 7 – Oct. 28, 2016 on Wednesdays & Fridays at 9:30 a.m.

Cost: $20.00/person (minimum of 5 participants)

Reservations recommended.

Wildlife Half-Day Tour (3.5 hours)

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Enjoy a tour through some of the premier wildlife habitat in the country. Besides the quality of antlered white-tailed deer in its pastures, King Ranch is home to a diverse range of animal species including javelina, bobcat, wild turkey, American alligator, and a host of other mammals, birds, and reptiles.

Offered: October 11, 2016 – March 11, 2017 on Tuesday – Friday and some Saturdays. October and March tours are from 3:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. and November from February tours are from 2:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Not Offered: November 24 and December 24, 2016

Number of participants Cost per person
1 $110
2 $55
3 $47
4 – 8 $35

Reservations & binoculars recommended.

Spotlighting Tours (2.5 hours)

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Come enjoy a nature spotlighting tour at night on King Ranch. Offered once a month on the second Friday from November 2016 through March 2017. This tour will also be offered on Friday, November 18 & Saturday November 19, 2016 in conjunction with Kingsville Ranch Hand Festival. This tour leaves from the King Ranch Visitor Center at 7:00 p.m. and returns at 9:30 p.m.

Number of participants Cost per person
1 $100
2 $50
3 $34
4 – 8 $25

Reservations & binoculars recommended.

Big Buck Bonanza Tour (4 hours)

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Are you interested in those animals that have four hooves and antlers? Are you a white-tailed deer aficionado? If so, join us on this tour. Its primary goal is to explore northern areas of the ranch and look for white-tailed bucks. With the rains that have occurred this past spring and early summer, the antler growth of many bucks should be quite impressive. This tour may visit some of the same areas as the wildlife half-day tour but the deer will be the focus of this outing.

Offered the following Saturdays: November 26; December 3, 10, 17, 2016; January 7, 21, 28; February 4, 2017 from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Number of participants Cost per person
1 $140
2 $70
3 $47
4 – 8 $35

Reservations & binoculars recommended.

Winter Birding Half-Day (4 hours)

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King Ranch is a showcase for the incredible diversity of wintering and tropical resident birds in South Texas. We’ll visit habitats from wetlands to grasslands to look for birds such as least grebe, white-tailed hawk, crested caracara, vermillion flycatcher, great kiskadee, green jay, olive sparrow, and more.

This tour does not visit the division of the ranch where the ferruginous pygmy-owls occur.

Offered: October 19, 2016 – March 11, 2017 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Not Offered: December 24 and January 2

Number of participants Cost per person
1 $160
2 $80
3 $60
4 – 5 $50
6 – 8 $45

Reservations required.

Winter Birding Full-Day (8 hours)

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Come spend the day birding the northernmost part of King Ranch. In addition to the species listed for the Winter Birding half-day tour, we’ll visit farm fields to look for such birds as the burrowing owl and Sprague’s pipit. Lunch and drinks are provided.

This tour does not visit the division of the ranch where the ferruginous pygmy-owls occur.

Offered: Nov. 4, 2016 – March 10, 2017 on most Tuesdays and Fridays @ 7:30 a.m.

Number of participants Cost per person
1 $300
2 $170
3 – 4 $135
5 – 8 $115

Reservations required.

Norias Birding Full-Day (9 hours)

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This tour visits the Norias division, the southernmost part of King Ranch. This area provides a great birding experience, with some of the rarest breeding birds in the U.S. such as the ferruginous pygmy-owl and tropical parula, and habitat for migrating songbirds. Other species we’ll look for include white-tailed hawk, northern-beardless tyrannulet, vermilion flycatcher, Botteri’s sparrow, and Audubon’s oriole. Lunch and drinks provided.

Offered: September 23, 24, 30, October 1, 5, 7, 2016 and March 15, 2017 – June 10, 2017 on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. This tour departs from the King Ranch Visitor Center at 7:00 a.m. for September, October, and March tours; April tours depart at 6:30am; May and June tours depart at 6:00 a.m.

Prices for March 15 – May 6, 2017

Number of participants Cost per person
1 $450
2 $250
3 $175
4 $150
5 – 8 $140

Prices for September & October 2016 tours and tours going from May 10 – June 10, 2017

Number of participants Cost per person
1 $400
2 $225
3 $167
4 $140
5 – 6 $125
7 – 8 $115

Reservations recommended.

Deluxe Norias Birding Tour (1.5 days, 1 night)

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This tour maximizes the varied birding opportunities on the Norias Divison, of King Ranch. Besides possibly seeing the many special resident & summer resident bird species, this portion of King Ranch has extensive upland coastal habitat that can attract many spring migrants. This tour allows time to visit these coastal migrant stopover areas and includes an overnight stay on this division of the ranch.

Dates for this special tour are limited:
April 6 – 7, 2017 (Thurs. – Fri.)
April 20 – 21, 2017 (Thurs. – Fri.)
May 4 – 5, 2017 (Thurs. – Fri.)

Cost: $375/person (based on double occupancy; minimum of 4 participants)

King Ranch Birding Adventure (3 days, 2 nights)

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This extended outing is an incredible way to experience a much larger portion of King Ranch and its birds. It will include birding divisions of the ranch and a two night stay on the remote Norias division of King Ranch. We encourage you to book early to experience this unique and exciting birding adventure.

Dates for the adventure in 2017:
March 29 – 31 (Wed. – Fri.)
April 11 – 13 (Tues. – Thurs.)
April 26 – 28 (Wed. – Fri.)

Cost: $775/person (based on double occupancy; minimum of 4 participants)

Private/Group Nature Tours (4 or 8 hours)

We can provide custom nature tours on birds, butterflies, dragonflies, native plants, and general wildlife. Rates vary by length and destination, so please call for information.

 

View a complete checklist of the birds of King Ranch.

 

Note: Vehicles headed north after a Spring birding tour travel through the Sarita U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Check Station. Each vehicle is met at the checkpoint by Border Patrol agents for a quick visual inspection and brief questions to determine citizenship. The process is routine, and most stops average less than a minute in duration. All passengers need to carry proper identification to verify U.S. Citizenship such as a Drivers License or Student ID card. Foreign nationals planning to take a Spring birding trip on the King Ranch should be sure to carry the appropriate documentation to avoid unnecessary delays, as Border Patrol agents are required to determine the immigration status of every traveler. Participants who do not have proper identification will not be permitted to board vans headed for King Ranch birding excursions on the Norias Division of the ranch, as an 1-2 hour delay in return of a birding trip would not be fair to other participants.

Cancellation Policy

For Wildlife Half-day and Winter Birding Half-day Tours:
If cancellation by person(s) with reservations is made 7 days or more before tour date, there will be a full refund. Within 7 days, there will be no refunds. Changes in time of tour must be made in writing and received via email or fax or mail within 7 days of tour, or guide will only be able to accommodate the guest during the specified reserved time.

For Winter Birding Full-day and Spring Birding Full-day Tours:
If cancellation by person(s) with reservations is made 14 days or more before tour date, there will be a full refund. Within 14 days, cancellations will be subject to a $30/person cancellation charge.

In the event that any tour is canceled by King Ranch for any reason, King Ranch and person(s) will reschedule at a mutually acceptable date. If no mutually acceptable date can be established, there will be a full refund.

In the event that any tour is canceled by King Ranch for any reason, King Ranch’s sole liability shall be to refund advance payments made to King Ranch. King Ranch specifically disclaims any liability for actual damages beyond any payments or deposits made and for any incidental or consequential damages.